Colic, or abdominal pain, is a relatively common problem that develops in horses of all ages. Practitioners in the field of equine medicine should be familiar with the various conditions that can contribute to abdominal pain. Once a clinical evaluation has been performed the practitioner will be able to narrow the differential list to establish a working diagnosis.
Treatment of painful conditions in horses has relied largely on nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for much of the last 25 years. For example, flunixin meglumine (Banamine®) and phenylbutazone (Butazolidin®) have dominated the market for treatment of colic and lameness respectively. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that these drugs also have some side effects, most notably gastrointestinal ulceration.